Working With Toms

Are you having issues with harsh cymbal bleed in your tom mics? Trying to use gates and having little or no success? Read on for two very useful tom editing tips!

I almost never use gates on my toms in the studio. The best method that I have found is being a human gate and muting or deleting all regions that are not Tom. Let’s say you’re working with 2 rack toms and a floor tom. Take your cursor and select as close as you can to the first tom hit. You will then need to hit Command + E. This will separate the regions. After you do that, go to the end of the decay of the tom, and use Command + E again. Now you have a separate tom region. You will need to repeat this process through the entire song, on all tom tracks. A quicker way to do this is to use your Tab key. You will be able to Tab to region, and move faster through your tom edits. That being said, be careful when using the tab. Sometimes Pro Tools is a bit wrong and may stop on a snare hit or might start you in the middle of a tom attack, creating clicks and pops. Another important note, you should use a fade in or out for smoothness. Always USE YOUR EARS and listen to your tom attacks and decays. Don’t trust your DAW.

After editing out all of your non-tom regions, you may run into another common issue with recorded toms. Have you ever had a crash cymbal get smacked directly after your tom is hit? You know, when you hear a rack tom attack, and during the decay, a big tinny crash? It happens all of the time. Props to David Glenn for unearthing this trick. Now I share it with your world:
Separate the tom attack from the tom decay by using Command + E
Select the decay (where the cymbal crash is) and open a 1-band EQ from Audiosuite.
Make the 1-band a Lo Pass Filter to about 350Hz. Get rid of all of that Hi End.
Hit Render.
You may need to crossfade the attack and decay regions (Highlight, Command + F)
Mind blown?

I hope you find these 2 tips extremely helpful. They are one of the most useful editing techniques for cleaning up your drums. Thanks for reading, and please check out the video attached to this blog.